New Norden 901 review: Husqvarna let us take their adventure prototype for a spin
Husqvarna first revealed the Norden 901 concept in November 2019 to huge acclaim but other than a confirmation it was going into production, virtually nothing has been heard about it since.
Now, however, MCN can confirm the bike will be fully unveiled later this year as a 2022 model and what’s more, Husqvarna even let us take a spin on the prototype. Read on for the Norden 901 prototype review...First things first – you might be wondering why there are no pictures of the prototype being ridden. Well, we weren’t allowed to be photographed on the well-worn test bike but there was precious little visual difference between it and the concept version shown a little over a year ago. So how does it stack up?
After half a day riding the first early prototype, it’s clear that the 901 promises to be a different take on Adventure Touring than the KTM model it shares its engine with. It offers a slightly softer – luxurious, even - more real-world alternative to the sportier 890 Adventure R.
It’s subtly more welcoming, especially as you sit more in the bike than on it, so you feel part of the bike and can ride it very intuitively. Though we only rode it on-road it had quite an extensive suspension travel at each end, a 21in the front wheel and 18in the
rear, and the electronics include Bosch cornering ABS, lean-sensitive traction control, and a range of riding modes including an off-road setting.But as an hour-long dust-up on challenging roads winding their way through the hills of Upper Austria proved, the Norden is a seriously capable tarmac tool that gives nothing away in terms of handling to more street-focused rivals, while also doubtless being just as capable off-road, thanks to the broad range of power from that torquey yet eager-revving 889cc version of KTM’s LC8c motor.
And it should be a great long-distance machine too, because of the cosier riding position – though like everyone else we’ll have to wait until the production version is launched as a 2022 model one year from now to find out. Definitely worth waiting for, though!
Husqvarna have confirmed that the striking Norden 901 will be coming to a showroom near you soon by adding it to their production bike line-up for 2021.
The historic off-road brand, now part of the Austrian KTM group, say they were overwhelmed by the response to their concept machine at the Eicma show in Milan and interest reached fever pitch at Motorcycle Live despite the bike not even being on show.
A Husqvarna spokesman said: "We were blown away by the response. It has definitely sped things up with the project."
A Husqvarna spokesperson stated: "This exciting new twin cylinder machine will go into production, a move that underlines Husqvarna Motorcycles’ growing commitment to the street segment.
"Now set to become a key addition to Husqvarna Motorcycles’ street line-up, the dynamic and versatile long-distance traveller will offer the modern rider a balance of practical accessibility and comfort."
Some spec of the super-naked-meets-adventure-bike has also been revealed and it looks like the 889.5cc parallel twin motor will be lifted directly from the new-for-2020 KTM 890 Duke R. There’s a 21in front wheel, an 18in rear and top-spec WP suspension front and back. We also suspect the KTM 790 Adventure frame will be used.
While some companies reveal concept machines that eventually spawn a road bike far removed from the original, we expect the production Norden 901 to be very close to the machine seen here. Don’t forget the firm’s Vitpilen and Svartpilen 701 production bikes hit showrooms in 2018 and 2019 looking very close to the concept machines unveiled in 2017.
Other details are scarce and no price has yet been mentioned but expect it to cost around the £11k mark based on the bike being built around parts from the new KTM 890 Duke R (£10,399) and the 790 Adventure (£11,299).
Moves are also under way to get the striking Husqvarna Norden concept to the Carole Nash MCN London Show on February 14-16 and while Husqvarna are yet to confirm the bike’s attendance, if it does appear, it’s sure to attract plenty of interest.
Keep an eye out for the full Husqvarna Norden 901 review on MCN once we've spent some time with the production bike.